LAO Newsroom

LAO accelerates application process for refugees

Posted on: Friday, February 8, 2013

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has revised its application process for refugees to include a country list and “streams” in order to accommodate the new shortened refugee claim timelines and expedite decision-making on applications for legal aid certificates.

Country list

Refugee clients who contact LAO are asked for the source country of their claim and for information about their financial circumstances. This information helps LAO identify them as claimants from countries in one of two newly developed streams – Stream 1 or Stream 2. This categorization provides lawyers and clients with more information about the certificate issuance process to come, as follows.

Stream 1 claimant

LAO issues a five-hour BoC certificate. If certain criteria (eg. gender, sexual orientation) are not met or complexities such as dual citizenship are identified, the claim is routed to Stream 2.

Stream 2 claimant

LAO refers the application to a telephone summary advice queue, so a qualified LAO intake officer can more fully assess the merit of the claim. Many claimants who are referred to the telephone summary advice queue receive a five-hour BOC certificate, but some do not. Each claim is assessed on its merit.


Maureen Hastings
Director, Administration, Civil and Immigration Law Services (GTA Region)